Tag Archive | drop spindle

OHS Level I – Small Article and Drop Spindle

I’m a little late with posting this, but this is about the latest assignment I sent off. Of course I forgot to take photos of my setup, but I’ll add that later on if I remember. This is the final spinning assignment for Level I. Now I have a paper and a grading chart left to do before I start Level II in August. I’m so excited!!!

Drop Spindle

I was given this beautiful cherry drop spindle for my birthday. After using this, I love it ALMOST as much as I love my wheel. I really do love how portable it is. Anyway, we are supposed to spin a sample skein on our spindles for one part of our assignment.

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester

We’re still working with woollen, so that means our yarn has to be light and fluffy. What I didn’t know is that when spinning a woollen yarn from roving, it is best to card them into rolags. That helps add more air and keep the yarn light and fluffy.

Andean plying on the drop spindle

Andean plying on the drop spindle

The photo above i showing Andean plying. It’s were you wrap the singles you just spun onto your wrist. It then enables you to pull from both ends of the singles in order to ply the yarn.

Small Article

I figured the best way to show my process for the small article I made was to set up a slide show.

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I spun this yarn z/s (which is opposite of most “go-to” traditional yarn). I had read and heard from various sources that spinning this way was better for crochet projects. Even though I’m sure I would have spun a prettier, neater yarn if I went with the go-to method, I wanted to test this theory out. I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity I have now of getting feedback from those who know best. With yarn spun this way, it does not lose its twist when you’re crocheting, unlike yarn spun the other way. While I was working, I did find that my hook didn’t get caught like it normally does. This is a method I want to work with more so I can find out for myself.

The results of the slide show above:

Crocodile Stitch Pixie Hat - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

The hat that I made with handspun/dye Corriedale fleece

So now we wait. These assignments have been sent off and I’m awaiting to see what my results are. I’m thrilled with how both projects turned out.

If you would like to make your own hat as picture above, you can get the pattern here, but Thread Softly.


Off to a Good Start!

Well, I got the second assignment back yesterday. I won’t get into the specifics of marks, but I will say this… I AM keeping my promise to Mom to do my best. I have shocked and surprised myself with what I have pulled off! I knew I had a purpose in this world. I suspected it had something to do with fibre. Well, given how well I’m doing in the course so far, and more importantly, how spinning affects my well-being on a whole, I’m pretty sure I have found my purpose.


I’m sure that I will have up’s and down’s with my marks over the next 5 1/2 years. I don’t want to get too confident because confidence sometimes leads arrogance. Arrogance leads to carelessness. That’s the LAST thing I want. No slacking for this girl.

I will confess that I’m not as worried about the assignment I’m working on now as I was about the last assignment. It was a BIG one. The best way I can describe it is that it felt very personal. We had to lay it all out on the table. We had to spin 11 different skeins. There was no hiding our weaknesses in this one. It was almost like writing a tell-all book about your life.

I’m certainly not down-playing the assignment I’m working on now. It’s certainly a challenge for me. After all, I only conquered the spindle five short months ago. I’m curious to see how I’ve progressed. I’m going to be including a note in my personal comments asking the instructors to please be gentle with me. Many of my classmates have been using a spindle for years. I don’t think I’m doing too bad for a newbie. I’m actually looking forward to their feedback/suggestions because I REALLY want to master the spindle. In this portion I’m not going to lose sleep over marks. I have minimal spindle experience. Regardless of my marks, I’m going to keep that in mind.

As for the small article assignment I’m working on… I’m not sure if I’m doing a smart thing by challenging myself. There is a time and a place for it. I don’t know if this is it, but I’m going to do it anyway. I had mentioned in a previous post that I’m planning on spinning “s” and plying “z” (the opposite of most go-to spinning) because my article is going to be crocheted. My thinking is what’s the point of doing something safe, something you already know you can do? I see this as an opportunity, once again, to get feedback from those who know best. If I stuck to my go-to spinning, sure, I probably would get some good marks. But I also wouldn’t be growing or expanding my skills. I want to be a well-rounded spinner. When I do go out into the world teaching what I have learned, I want to be able to share as many experiences that I can. If this means sacrificing marks because of challenging myself, then so be it. I would rather get a 70% on a challenge with important feedback than a 90% with a pat on the back and nothing new to add to my skills.

We’ll see how this goes!

Spindle Assignment – The Process

Continuing on with the assignments, I’m now onto the spindle portion. A year ago this would have scared the bejeepers out of me. Not anymore. I wrote about my drop spindle victory last summer.

I’m far from perfect, but I’ve really come to enjoy it.

I will be spinning some Blue Faced Leicester. I LOVE this wool! It’s so soft. I just hope my spindling can do it justice.

I carded the roving first to add some air to it (thanking my sister from another mister for that suggestion!). I need all the help I can get!

So I’m off to spin some fluffy woollen yarn.

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester

They Call it a Drop Spindle for a Reason

I must confess I’ve been using my drop spindle a LOT these days. It’s a lot more convenient to spin on the spindle while waiting to pick my Sweet Pea up at school than it is to haul my wheel. This has seriously bumped up my productivity! There’s also the part where I get so much satisfaction from it because I still feel victorious conquering this in spite of my world being shaken up the day I was to initially learn. I’m also doing it just because I can. Because I enjoy it. And because I want to have the awesome-est skein I can muster to hand in for my homework!

I’ve been using the Dorset fleece I was generously given a little while back. I washed the fleece up and carded it myself. Here are some of the rolags I made to have handy:

Hand carded rolags from a Dorset fleece

Here are my first three times with the drop spindle. I don’t know about you, but I can see an improvement. I think I need to ply my latest one a bit more. It looks under-plied. But hey, it’s a learning process, isn’t it? (and now a blank canvas for some dyeing experiments!):


My very first attempt with the drop spindle. This is from Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) roving. It’s so soft!


Attempt number 2, also from BFL roving


Attempt number 3 from a Dorset fleece I’ve processed. I can see where it’s under-plied

I had my spindle in to the Kinmount Artisans Marketplace a couple of weeks ago when I was helping out with one of the kids’ workshops. A girl saw me working with it and she was just fascinated. She asked me if that was something we could add to the workshops next summer. I think I’d really like to see about doing that. My plan is to experiment over the winter to see if I can do something with polymer clay and a dowel, while keeping the costs down (the workshops were only $3 this summer). We shall see… I would LOVE if I could pull it off because that will help me work towards my goal of passing spinning on to the next generation.

It’s looking like I’m going to be doing some guest blogging very soon. Stay tuned for details and links!

Day 3: Say My Name, Drop Spindle!

Today we started off carding with Julia. We worked with flick carders and hand carders. I didn’t take photos of my carders because I’m sure there are photos of them floating around here (if anyone is curious about what they look like though, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll be happy to snap a photo of them).

Now, there was a lot of “butt” talk today. No, I’m not talking about fannies. The butts we were discussing was in reference to the part of a lock of wool that is closest to the body of a sheep. But I couldn’t help “butt” giggle… If you know me, you know how much I LOVE the Minions. This is all I had going through my head today whenever I heard “butt”…


As much as I enjoyed the carding portion, the BIG event happened this afternoon. We were shown how to use a drop spindle. There’s a reason why this was such a big event for me. I’ll even go so far as to say a VICTORY…

I won’t go into full detail, but here’s the short, condensed version. The day we were to learn how to spin during the fibre arts course, my ex decided to be a major wanker (even more than what he usually is). Let’s just say that there was a very upsetting situation unfold. The worst part was that it impacted my ability to concentrate in class and I was busy “putting out the fire” when Wendy was teaching about the drop spindle. There wasn’t any time to go back since the course was so compressed, so I felt like I missed out. I was angry because of the situation and I was so disappointed. I never bothered learning though because a) it brought back too much garbage associated with that day and b) I knew I’d be learning anyway because of taking this course. So when I was spinning on the spindle today, not only was I excited about my newly-acquired skill, but it also felt like I was flipping a certain so-and-so off. He may have won the battle that day, but he did NOT win the war.

So I spun my first skein on the drop spindle today! I wanted to break out into a happy dance. The really cool part is that it’s even more portable than the wheel. I said that I now have a new addiction. One of my classmates corrected me and said that it wasn’t a new addiction, it was just a different delivery of the current one LOL So don’t be surprised if you see me walking around town with a spindle in my hand. You know, just because I can…


I’m doing it!!! I’m doing it!!!


Not bad for a first try!

There was one more thing I wanted to mention… I think it’s just amazing how a beautiful thing can come out of a tragedy. I’m sure I mentioned that Mom made this course happen for me. I can’t thank her enough. She knew I needed this. What she didn’t know though, is that I have found a new friend. She is such a joy to be around! We share a passion for spinning and carrying on the art, among many other things. One other thing that we share is that we’re both taking this course because of our moms. She lost her mom a couple of months after I lost mine. This course has brought up a lot of emotions for both of us and we’ve been able to lean on each other. She understands how I’m feeling and she gets me on a level that many can’t understand unless they’ve been there. I’d like to think that I offer the same to her. I know both our moms are smiling down on us, proud of how we’re carrying on. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new friend better. She smiled at me yesterday when one of the instructors was talking about how she had been teaching for over 30 years and said “That’s going to be us!”

You know it girl!